Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Love And Running

I feel as if I am falling out of love with running.
It has been a month since I ran the London marathon and I didn’t really enjoy myself running that marathon. Despite training really hard I didn’t run a PB let alone the goal I had set myself of a sub three hour marathon. In training I don’t feel the joy of just letting my body stretch out and enjoy it. I used to love training with my wife – two hour runs of uninterrupted time together; no phone calls, no social media, no emails, no TV - just the two of us running together sometimes talking sometimes enjoying silence that only two runners or two people in love can. But as I've got more serious about my running we now train separately.
I remember when I first started running I read somewhere that it is better to not run so hard and enjoy it so you return the following day, as opposed to training as hard as you can, not enjoying the experience, and not coming back the next day. Good training and enjoyment are intrinsically linked.
My focus in training for the London marathon ignored the importance of pleasure. Getting faster and better was all that counted. Pleasure was no longer part of the equation. The PB and the finish time was the only thing that mattered. The ends justified the means. My running enjoyment was sacrificed on the altar of a sub three hour marathon.
You can’t keep doing what you don’t like. The ends not only do not justify the means (as the saying goes). If you do not enjoy the means you won’t even reach “the ends”. I did not achieve my sub three hour marathon and I’m not enjoying my running. I think the same is true for so many things in life. In work when I do something purely to achieve an end result I not only don't enjoy the process invariably I don't achieve the end goal.
I now realise that running 10 minute miles with my wife in training makes me a better runner than running seven minute miles by myself. Finishing a run with a smile is better than finishing my training thinking I am about to die (and often thinking death would be a small mercy).
This Sunday I am going to try and fall back in love with running. I am going to run the Edinburgh marathon. It is far too early since the London marathon to run a PB but it’s not too early to just run for fun. On Sunday I will soak up the atmosphere and first and foremost fall in love.
(The picture today is of possibly one of the races I enjoyed myself the most - the 16 mile Whole Foods Breakfast Run. Because 16 miles isn't a 'proper' distance, unlike a marathon, half marathon or 10k, I just ran for the love of it). 

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