Posted by: Ingrid | October 23, 2010

Lost that loving feeling

Maybe it’s because I have not done much official training in the past, but this year has served to teach me two things.

1.  I can be faster than I ever thought was possible when I ran around the track in college ten years ago at a 10-11 minute pace.

2.  There is an inverse correlation between my enjoyment of running and the number of weeks I have before a particular event.

I’m happy about the first discovery but the second has thrown me off.  When I got to the end of this last half-marathon all I could think was that I didn’t want to train for anything.  Ever.  I didn’t want to run another half.  I didn’t even want to run a 5K.  No events.  No training.  You couldn’t pay me to run.  (Well, maybe I would accept payment.  I honestly felt like I hated running.

It really bothered  me.  I mean, I have enjoyed training and seeing results, but I enjoy it less and less as an event approaches.  At the end of week 6 out of 10 I started feeling stressed.  I was hard on myself when my workouts didn’t go right and upset when I didn’t make it out to run on the correct days.  Maybe I just need to get more comfortable doing events in which I’m training and running hard with a specific goal (as opposed to just showing up and running which is what I’ve always done before) but I don’t like losing my love for running during the training process.  Running is my space.  My time to be.  My time to think and reflect and process as well as train.

Also, it leaves me feeling like an absolute running wimp.  I mean, I follow blogs of women who run events, marathons and longer, all the time.   They train hard, they love it, they keep going.  Now, I realize that some of these women are runners who are out of my league, but it’s still a little embarrassing to find how little can stress me out.  I mean, five events in a year is nothing, especially since none of them were over half-marathon length.

The good news however, is that just two weeks of running for the sheer enjoyment of it has done wonders to restore my love.  The first week’s twenty-seven miles, as I ran off the lactic acid from the half marathon gave way to this week’s forty-miles.  I run at whatever pace feels good and I barely look at my Garmin except to know when to turn around and run home.  I am too busy looking at everything around me that I missed those last three weeks of training.  There is no pressure to perform or succeed, just the smell of autumn, the spice colored trees, and the rhythmic sound of my Asics hitting the country roads.

It’s hard to hate running when you get to see things like this.  Running is fast enough that you get to see plenty of lovely things but slow enough so that you can savor the anticipation of getting to a particularly beautiful patch of trees.

And the funny thing is that coming home from yesterday’s twelve-miler I had the thought that maybe on Monday I ought to head over to the track and run some repeats, just for the fun of it.  I wouldn’t have thought that more mileage would be the cure to my running blahs, but it appears to be working!

Running song of the day: Alexithymia by Anberlin




  1. Very insightful and well said. Good for you for having a couple of weeks of running just for you. Maybe you’ve learned not to “train” but for only a couple of races a year, and maybe just run the others for you. Of course, I know you and you won’t be able to just go run them… maybe just run for you and skip the races until you know you are ready to embrace the way you know it’s going to make you feel by the end of training.

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