Running saved my life and eventually almost ruined my life.
This will be the theme of most of my upcoming posts. This new post is a follow up to my previous post about what bad habits I think runners need to stop doing.
At the end of this post, I also include my current "status" on running.
I was never anything close to a professional or a very good runner. However, I have had some extra time to evaluate what I was caught up in during the last 10+ years of running. Now over the next few posts, I want to share my lessons learned.
Don't Get Caught Up in the NumbersWhen I read social media posts, I observe people posting their thoughts and outcomes of the day about running. Based on their posts, some runners are not realizing that what they are saying is that their self-worth as a person, runner or athlete is based on how they ran for the day.
They will share with the public how they were tired and still ran and they still feel bad about the final numbers that appeared on their watch, phone and/or what was reported to Strava.
You are doing something wrong, if you are a runner and you are getting down on yourself, thinking less of yourself and negatively thinking about who you are as a runner, athlete or person. This is not what running is supposed to be about.
Running should be an outlet to use as exercise both mentally and physically. It should not bring more problems into your life because of how "slow" you ran for the day.
I see the opposite too. Just because you ran a certain pace or x number of miles this weekend, month or year, doesn't make you a better runner than the person who did less.
Just be a runner. Don't get up in the numbers.
At first I used running to lose weight. I originally got into the routine for "health" reasons. It then eventually became a dedicated time in my day where I knew I would be able to get away from work and other issues. I realized that it was helping me become mentally, spiritually and physically stronger. This was when running was "healthy" for me.
However, I too became guilty of wanting to run faster, longer and do more and more races. At the end of the day, what did it get me usually? Injuries. No matter who you are, if you are doing more than what your body can handle, you will eventually get injured.
Relax and Enjoy the OutdoorsRunners need to relax and enjoy most of their runs, not dreading them. If you are forcing yourself to go run, then something has gone wrong. Learn to enjoy each and every run that you have been blessed with.
If you are not enjoying the outdoors while running, then you are missing out on one of the big benefits of running. I suggest that you begin to evaulate your routine. Are you eating right? Running too much? Not sleeping enough?
As a runner, you need to appreciate the fact that you can run. Thousands of people wish they had the physical ability to run, yet most runners will sit there and complain on a daily basis about how they have to run X # of miles or that their pace was 20 seconds too slow than they wanted.
Unless you are a world class athlete or some sponsored runner, you shouldn't worry if your pace today was 10:55 or 9:55. Seriously, does it really matter?
Is your tombstone going to state you were a 8:30 mile pace runner or a loving parent, spouse, etc?
Does it matter if you finished your full marathon in 5 hours and 15 minutes vs 4 hours and 52 minutes? Just think about it, at the end of your life, does it really make a difference? Should a marathon finish time define who you are as a person?
Does it matter if you did one ultra race this year vs 4? When you look back, will the year you did 4 ultra marathons really matter?
I bet the person at home who is injured or who has never been blessed with a healthy body would love to be able to just run one day. One day. Did you appreciate and enjoy your last run?
Have GoalsYes, have goals if you need to have something to drive you everyday and force you out of bed. However, they should not be ones that somehow negatively impact your life or somehow make you think less of yourself.
Find ways to become a better version of yourself. So if goals is what you need than have them in place but just remember if you run bad one day, it doesn't mean you are a bad runner.
Maybe your goal is to run a half or full marathon. Sign up for one. Then find, follow and trust the plan. Realize you will come across challenges during the journey. If running a half or full marathon was easy, everyone one would do it.
Challenge yourself, don't kill yourself over a bad run or two.
My Running StatusNo, the above comments are not coming from a disgruntled injured runner. Yes, I have been injured for the last few months and I have not been running. However, for once I am at peace with the situation. I have purposely not forced any rehab because I want to give running a rest right now.
I have let it all go. I enjoyed running for 10+ years became a 2x marathon runner, 1 time 50K runner, 1 time 40 mile runner and now it is time to move on to other things.
I will now focus on getting fit and healthy via eating better and weight lifting. I want to ensure I truly appreciate and enjoy all aspects of my life, not just what my watch said after my last run.
As I look back, I know I got caught up with being a runner and forgetting that I was also a father, husband, brother and son. The important people in my life could care less how far or fast I ran and that is the way it should be.
What I am trying to share now is just some personal thoughts that I have after I realized I got caught up in the numbers instead of just enjoying the entire journey of being a runner.
More thoughts will be shared in future posts. Whatever you are trying to do in life, learn to enjoy the journey.
As always, thank you for reading this post.
By: Fred Lechuga
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