My running. It’s evolved a lot lately.
I feel like I’ve been talking about my running in the context of ‘when I was in training mode…’ vs. ‘now that I’m not in training mode’ but really, what I should be talking about is my run-purpose. That’s the thing that has evolved, running-wise lately.
You see, for the past few years, my running cycle has looked something like this:
- Summer – run like hell, soaking in as many early-AM (bunny-filled!) runs as possible, learning to love and embrace the ultra-humid runs and being outside with the hubs by my side whenever possible. Oh – and lots of bestie rundates, too.
- Late-summer/early-fall – ramp that running up in preparation for a race, usually a half marathon (or that run time I ran a full marathon…), a way to close out all those summer months of running on a high note.
- Late-fall/early-winter – continue to run whenever possible outside, choosing one or two other races to run before winter settles in (usually the Thanksgiving Day 5-mile “Wild Turkey Run” was our ‘swan song’ race for the winter, until recently…)
- Dead of winter – work my ass off to keep my endurance and mileage up as best as I can, sticking to the dreadmill during the week (tooooo dark) and outside on the weekends, when possible. Doing what I could to work on speed via intervals, dreadmill-style, and working on endurance on the weekend with the outdoor runs.
- Early-Spring – ramp that mileage back up in preparation for a springtime race, usually another half marathon. And then get VERY excited to continue keeping the miles up during the summer months – aka one of my favorite running seasons.
I repeated this cycle yearly – training, keeping my mileage up, working on endurance…that was my run-purpose. I *mostly* ran with the intent to race a few times a year and that’s what largely drove my running. Of course, above all else – I always run because I love it, because it makes me feel so alive and yes, because it makes me feel badass. But the ‘purpose’ was also usually training-inspired in some shape or form.
But my run-purpose is quickly shifting – there is no real training ‘purpose’ to my runs anymore. And I don’t really foresee that shifting much. And not because I don’t enjoy the thrill of the chase that training for a race provides, that end goal in sight, feeling that rush of crossing the finish line. I *still* really love those moments and like I’ve said about a million times, training for the Chicago Marathon and countless half marathons before that, provided some of the most memorial bonding moments with Scott, my favorite running partner of all. #teamsutera ❤
But really, my run-purpose now is literally all about the joy of the sweat.
The rush I feel when I see a cool “7.0 miles” completed on the treadmill. Or I watch my pace quicken during those killer intervals (like these intervals, where my a$$ nearly fell off), and I am incredulous that my legs can actually move that quickly if I trust them to.
My running goal lately? To run. Whenever I can fit it in, for as long as I can fit into my day. It might be 7 miles, early-AM (like tomorrow’s plan!), dreadmill-style. Or it might be a quick 3 miler after I teach or take a barre n9ne class in the morning. Or it might be, the altogether TOO RARE rundate with Scott outside, hitting up one of our favorite 7 mile running routes (that I hope to return to this Sunday, actually!).
My run-purpose: the joy of the sweat.
My run goal: to run. Joyfully.
Source: iheartrunning.com via Jess on Pinterest
I have a hard time just running to run. I have learned that I actually really enjoy running to train though.
I think that’s great too, though — you know what makes you happy, what motivates you and what keeps you running. So keep going after races and enjoy that aspect of running, you know?
Oh love this! Thanks for posting. It makes me stop and think about my run purpose
You are most welcome 🙂
Your run-cycle is mine to the letter, but also I run for those rare runs that time ceases to exist and my body completely takes over. I had one of these flow runs on my nine-miler yesterday and it reminded me exactly why I love this sport. Feel free to read about it and my journey to my first half-marathon on my blog!
I LOVE those runs where time ceases to exist and you are in that ZONE, that zone that nobody ‘gets’ until they run it for themselves. To me, that’s the epitome of running — that ZONE is amazing!!
ps yay on your first half marathon, I will definitely check it out!!
Love that your running goal is for the joy of sweat. Couldn’t have said it better. I’ve been thinking about this lately too, especially since I’m not a “racer” – races and training although nice have never driven my running.
I love that you’re on the same page as me — the joy of the run is the best, and it’s definitely something you appreciate even more after coming back from injury like you did this past year. It makes you embrace EVERY step you take, doesn’t it?
My goal these days is JUST TO RUN. My focus isn’t where it once was, but I love running too much!
AGREE! Just run. Sweat. Grab that runner’s high and move on. The best. 🙂
could not agree more! the joy of the sweat, the ability TO RUN, the little things. That’s an AMAZING RUN PURPOSE!!
The ability is a beautiful blessing. Beautiful and one to never take for granted. ❤
GREAT tagline. The joy of sweat, that is awesome. I was nodding along to your cycle, completely feel you with the seasons. Thank you for my dose of daily inspiration:)
I think I should get a tank that says that exact phrase, don’t you think? I love it 😉
I LOVE this sis…your running goals are similar to mine now, more than before (not that it is ever a bad thing when ,gasp, our run ‘goals’ are different, or WE are different in any way!) – I’ve always felt my best when I run to run, to sweat, to enjoy, rather than a goal like a race, or even mileage. For me, it stresses me out, for others, it motivates them. We all run differently. But I DO also think we go through run cycles and I cannot wait for the spring/summer run cycle like whoa!! BUNNIES!!!!!!!!!!!
You two are too cute!!!! I can only imagine the joy of seeing little bunnies hopping around to inspire your joyful runs:):)
Ah yes! Me too Lady, ME TOO! It has just become apart of me. I wrote about this early, how I crave it. I love it for the pure purpose that I CAN run and I am ABLE to. There is just so much gratitude and satisfaction in that for me lately that while racing is a bonus, it is not the purpose.
That’s a great way to put it — racing is a bonus, it’s not the purpose, the joy of the sweat is the underlying driver for why we run. Yayyy for that 🙂
Holy crap! That is my run purpose! Literally for the joy of sweat! I’m not proving anything to anybody, I’m not chasing anything and I’m not being chased! I just love the way it makes me feel. I want to run with you!
I totally LOL’d at this comment when I read it last night — “Holy Crap, that is my run purpose!” totally made me giggle. LOVE that we share that and gosh would I LOVE TO RUN WITH YOU!!!!
We are so on the same page! I’m loving to just run for the run lately!
SO fun to be on the same page with you!!
I love this, and I’m so sorry I haven’t commented sooner. I’ve been all over the place recently. A head cold, new dog, painting the kitchen, new dog, cleaning, new dog, setting up my guest posts for this week…
First, you made me LOL, literally, with your comment about your ass falling off. I swore I was the only one who said that. lol People look at me like I’ve got 10 heads when I say it!
Second, LOVE LOVE LOVE the image at the very end of this post and the fact that you and I were on such a similar road the other day. I’m kind of where you *were* in running. At this point, I love having a fun race to look forward to, and while I say “redemption run” and “PR” often, but I know myself well enough to realize that in the end? It’s all about the joy of the run. In the end, it’s not going to kill me if I don’t PR.
You’ve got one heck of a runner’s head on your shoulders, friend. This is why I love you so much. You’re never caught up in the numbers or the hype or the competition. It’s about you and your connection to the run, and that’s how it should be.
God. Now I can’t wait for the warm weather so I can sweat my butt off. Hehe.
Looooooove your novel length comments soooo much, hehe 🙂
I think it’s so neat how we’ve sorta switched places as runners – you’re all about racing and working towards a PR and I’m just in it to enjoy the sweat, the joy of the run. NOT to say that you aren’t also into the joy of the run, you just have another focus as a runner right now too and I dig that!! I dig, dig, dig that running is so unique to each of us, means something very different at various points in our running journey and is a constant learning process. Above all, we share that love of the run and THAT is most important, if you ask me 🙂
I think it’s great to no necessarily have a specific purpose (like a race), but rather to run to enjoy. You definitely don’t end up dreading a run “because you have to do it.”
Exactly. I haven’t had that run-dread in a LONG time. And I dig that 🙂
Wow! You have certainly got me thinking!!! I almost always run ONLY when I have the external motivation of an upcoming race but NEVER for the sheer joy of running (except when i am running with a newbie who needs some extra motivation!) I find going to a personal training session or going to a class (gonna do more of your barre n9ne classes) more joyful and fulfilling for some reason. I am considering joining my town’s running club. My personal trainer has told me that the people who belong to the club are supportive and kind…I am still grappling with getting more comfortable practicing solo.
Very proud of your own progress and as I mentioned earlier, I am working on my own!!
I find it SO interesting that for you, running has almost always revolved around racing and simply going for a run just for the sheer joy of it never truly occurred to you. I think that’s what constantly amazes me about this sport — running means something VERY different to each runner and can change at any given time. This time last year I was thinking about how I was going to get myself through marathon training and now? I’m the farthest from that as possible as a runner. And that’s ok to me. Who knows, it’ll probably change again for me in another six months but for now? This is my happy run-purpose space. 🙂
I LOVE your perspective, Jen!!
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