When my sis asked me to guest post for her while she’s away, my mind was actually pretty blank, to be honest. But today, it hit me. As I stood at mile 11, waiting for our fabulous bloggy friend Samantha to pass us (meeting up with Meaghan, who is supremely awesome!) as she ran the Hampton Half Marathon, it hit me. As I saw the runners whizzing past, at all paces, and seeing some faces scrunched up in struggle, while others had their eye on the prize, I just saw something in their faces: they were running for themselves…above all else, they were running for them, and nobody else. Sure, some were intent on finishing first, or PRing or breaking an old PR, but the common thread was that it was for them. The run.
And that is something I have very much struggled with over the last year. Why I run. For awhile, I lost sight of that, and ran because I thought I should. And trained for two half marathons because I thought I should, because my sister and my friend Steph were running them, but after a second half marathon that just didn’t go nearly as planned, I knew I needed to throw that book out the window and start clean.
Thus, I proclaimed that I love to run, but I do not love to race. And born from that was my 6-month run challenge (read up on it here) that I built for myself to sustain some distance during the cold winter months (complete with challenging myself to run outside in the cold, something I’d never really done in seasons past) and to maybe even build up my pace a bit from my usual 10mm that I can’t seem to break.
What I didn’t expect to gain from this challenge, now, 3 months in, was this: it has helped me re-inspire and re-capture why I run and more importantly, why I like to run. I’m conquering the breathing problems that have plagued me, I am gaining some speed, I am running consistently, and I have even embraced my aforementioned abhorrence for intervals.
And in the process? I’ve learned to love running again and to ultimately run for me, and only me. In this bloggy world filled with runners of all varieties, it’s so easy for me to get caught up in what everyone else is doing…but for the first time in a long time, I’m really just focused on what I am doing, and nothing else. The way it should be.
And that, my friends, is how I’ve taught myself to run…for me.
For anyone out there that is struggling with this very thing – running for you and not letting anything else affect that…take it from me, it can be done. I am proof and I am thrilled with how far I’ve come, moreso mentally even, than physically.
So, take that gamble, get your head in the game and figure out why you run, and then just go for it. You’ll probably surprise yourself with what you’re actually capable of when you’re focusing on just you, just running.
Great post, Jo! I think so many people run because they think they’re “supposed to” – and then they end up hating it. Not every workout is for every person. Do what you love and love what you do!
Exactly! Don’t do something because you’re ‘supposed’ to, do it because you love it and want to!
Yes!!! I’ve been burnt out on running a bit, and I think because I put to much external pressure on myself.
We already have enough pressure in our lives, don’t we? Why ADD more to it unecessarily!
running for me is the only way it works…if i try to run to be like someone else, or to prove something to someone other than myself, i get bored and fall off the bandwagon. if i just run when i feel like it….it usually works out great 🙂
yes!! It’s about self motivation, not being motivated because other people are doing it or being out to prove anything to anyone but ourselves. When we stray from that, it’s much harder to see progress, enjoy it, and keep doing it, too.
It’s amazing that you stuck with running and then ultimately came into your own. Amazing growth. Hope others take your advice as well! Beautiful post.
This is a great post for me to read. I was supposed to be running a half marathon this weekend for my birthday with someone. Never mind I haven’t done more than jog/walk a few miles in years. I hadn’t even finished a 5K! But I felt pressure to do it because I used to run, I have a friend that is a runner and another fvriend who had just got into running. It became about being competitive with so many other people that I was beating myself up about not being farther along and pushing myself way too hard. I didn’t even like running after a while. Now I’m looking forward to starting over and running for me again. This is what has been missing in it for me lately. Good luck on the second half of your run challenge!
Thank you! I am so glad it resonated with you at the right time. I think starting with a clean slate is an awesome idea and will really help you run for you and LIKE running again! Good luck!
This is interesting…I definitely struggle with running for myself and not for comparing myself to some standard, or worrying about what other people were doing!
It’s so hard NOT to do that, the comparing thing. I am the worst when it comes to comparing and it just got to a point where it was overwhelming me and not helping me at all. If you don’t run for you, why bother?
So good. I’m surrounded by amazing runners, while I merrily stroll along at my 10mm. Like you, I was so frustrated by not being able to compete with the runners around me, when it hit me… I’m not running for them (I’ll never beat them), I’m running for me! So I should just enjoy my pace 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!
Oh I am so glad you liked this post and it resonated! And hey, we should run together sometime, similar pace and all 😉 I was getting supremely frustrated too, and it was just not helping me in any way. I hope you embrace your pace and your runs for you more too. It’s hard to do but worth it!
Yea, it’s funny, I just blogged about a simular thing, and then I stumbled upon your blog… was so great to hear that I’m not the only one dealing with the comparison game 🙂 Running is really about ourself, and caring about anyone else will just weigh us down…
Love it— you are so right. “Just go for it!” I agree– you never know what you can do until you TRY! 🙂
Such a great post. I totally burnt out on running a few years backs – trained for a few marathons and was running because it was “good” for me and it was what I did. But I stopped running regularly after having kids and only have recently gotten back into it and have fallen back in love with it because I was doing it for me and it made me feel good in a million different ways. While reading some of great running/fitness blogs helped to inspire me to give running a go again, it’s hard not to compare yourself to what others are doing. In those instances, I remind myself how *I* feel when I run and that helps to keep the comparison at bay.
Aw, thank you so much!! I am so glad you regained your love for running after burning out. It’s so easy to get sucked into the hype and excitement when reading other running blogs, and I totally got sucked in, in a more negative way, and now that I’ve released myself from that, I feel so much better, and enjoy reading those blogs so much more now too!