So…I have something exciting to share. Over the last few months I have slowly started to increase my running and much to my surprise (and delight!), it has felt 100% amazing and right. I like to post periodic updates on the status of my running since this blog is named Peanut Butter Runner and it used to be such a big part of my identity and life.
If you’re new to the blog, you can catch up on my running history with these posts…
Who Are You?
Born To Run?
notrunning. And it feels so good.
I am currently on a three and a half year hiatus from distance running but recently I have started to feel a little like my old running self again, but on totally new terms. The motivation to write this post came from an effortless 6 mile run with a friend this morning and realizing that I’ve run 19 miles in the last five days and it’s been the most enjoyable, pain-free five days of running that I’ve had in over three years. I was reflecting on what’s changed to allow me to get to this point so I want to share my new rules of running with you in hopes that it will help others who are in my shoes.
1. I took an extended break from running. After the frustration of dealing with injuries on an ongoing basis, I put running on the back burner and found new ways to physically challenge and strengthen my body. It was also a much needed mental break. Running had gotten to the point where it was more of a stressor for me than a de-stressor and that is no good! Instead of putting a lot of parameters around how much I should be running, I ran when I wanted to. Sometimes it was three miles a couple of times a week, sometimes I didn’t run for weeks. It allowed me the space to lose the “runner” identity.
2. I got stronger. I found CrossFit around the time that I gave up distance running and it was a huge life saver for me. CrossFit challenged me in ways that I had never challenged myself before and made me stronger than ever before. It also gave me a new way to set goals and see measurable progress. I didn’t have to worry about PRs in races because I was setting them every day in the gym. I can honestly say that I am stronger right now at 31 than I have ever been in my life.
3. I got more mobile. My initial motivation for starting yoga was to help with running injuries but yoga became this whole new piece of my life that changed my body AND my spirit. The flexibility, openness and mobility that I have gained from yoga has been a huge help for my body. I am definitely an on-the-go, Type A kind of girl and yoga helps me not to hold so much tension and stress in my body. I also learned all about the benefits of foam rolling and other myofascial release techniques that have been extremely helpful.
4. I quit running races. It’s extremely refreshing to not have a big race looming over your head that you need to train for or worry about PRing. Instead, I now run 100% for pleasure. This isn’t to say I’ll never race again, but it’s been a big part of giving me the space I needed to love running again.
5. I put my Garmin in a drawer and forgot about it. In the past, I would NEVER leave the house without my Garmin. I needed to know my pace and mileage. Even when I ran the same exact running routes day in and day out. I would worry if the pace was slower than normal and I checked it constantly. I will say that the Garmin was an invaluable tool in marathon training and 100% necessary. It also helped me become aware of my pace so that I could do things like tempo runs, speed work and know long run paces. I don’t need it now and I could care less what my pace is! I don’t need that pressure. I find now that I just innately know my mileage and general pace based on time and exertion. It’s a much more mindful way for me to run.
6. I got an awesome new running partner. I used to occasionally meet up with friends for runs but I was predominantly a solo runner. A couple of months ago, a friend I met through yoga invited me to run with her. We had schedules that allowed us both to run mid-morning and it’s rare to find that. It has been the most amazing thing. I SO look forward to our runs for the accountability, fellowship, conversation and motivation. She has pushed me to get back to running 5-6 miles on the regular and I always finish our runs with a total runner’s high. I am so, so, so grateful to have found her as a friend and a running partner.
So that’s where I am with running right now. Will it change again? Yes, I’m sure but it’s a journey like many other things in life and it’s served as a huge lesson for me in learning how to be more intuitive with my body. Most importantly, I feel happy, healthy and injury-free!