Thoughts About Running Lately, Guest Post and Weekly Summary

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First off – thanks to everyone for the anniversary wishes. We had a great day of relaxing with coffee, kayaking for several hours on Keuka Lake, then eating at a restaurant with outdoor seating overlooking the lake (Snug Harbor in case anyone cares).

Guest Post

On Friday I had a guest post over at Life Between the Miles, talking about being a runner in a non-running family from both sides of the equation. Thanks to Sara for letting me ramble on her blog as well as here! I hope that her and her family are having a wonderful vacation!

Thoughts on Running Lately

There have been so many great posts about training, motivation, and so on lately, and I always feel a bit weird reading those because I am often not sure how I feel or what to say. This Sunday was one of the races I had planned on running at the beginning of the year – the Catharine Valley Trail Half Marathon.

But I am not racing it – and have absolutely no regrets. Why? In terms of non-running reasons, this is our anniversary weekend and we thought we might do a getaway, then there was the possibility of a college visit, so as we went back and forth with what would happen, I realized I didn’t want to be worried about a race over our anniversary, so mentally I pretty much crossed it off the list.

The moment I really knew it was gone was on Saturday when I had the chance to go for a run after Lisa headed to work and the kids were at marching band – and I went for a super-long run. That type of thing pretty much ensures I will be exhausted in general and my legs will be toast in the morning. I didn’t taper, didn’t ramp my fueling, and in general did nothing to prepare for a race.

1. It is Possible I Will Finish 2014 Race-Free … And That’s OK

This was a question I asked myself a bunch this week – as of August 1st there were three races I was thinking about: Catharing Valley, Can 50 Ultra and the Red Baron Half. A charity race next weekend popped up that I might do, but as of right now I am wait-listed on the Ultra and not signed up for anything.

The question? Do I care? And the answer? No. There are other years, other races, other times. Right now I have enough stuff going on that it just doesn’t easily fit in doing races. As I have said, you have to budget AT LEAST 4X the time impact for a race as for a run of the same distance … and often you lose the whole day.

2. I am Not Searching for Motivation

Last week was ‘keeping motivated week’ in the blog work, or so it seems. I wrote a post about it, and so did many other people. For many, they are struggling with motivation as they are working through their training plans – or they are struggling getting up in the morning, or getting in their runs due to weather, or just in some way having a rough time of things.

As for me, I came back after a whirlwind few day college tour, then headed out the next day and ran nearly 19 miles. For fun. You know what they say about messing with people who do this stuff for fun! haha

3. Races / PR / etc Don’t Motivate Me

I can’t say that I don’t LOVE going to races, that getting PRs or just doing well for myself aren’t all great – but they are NOT why I wake up at 4AM and go running every day. I mean, I ask myself the basic question – if I would never PR again, or if I could never run another race … would it impact getting up and running?

My easy answer is no. I would still get up and go every day, would still try to improve, and would still love running. For me, racing and everything associated with it is just ‘stuff’ – and is totally unnecessary … but fun.

4. I Don’t Care About Training Plans

After botching my first half-marathon two years ago, I took advantage of the six weeks I had before my first marathon to do things better. The same is true for my 2013 races – I would build volume, do some speed work, then taper off.

This year? I have set a pretty solid volume, done my ‘runs with purpose’ each week, and tried to hit on most of the things needed to work at my strengths and weaknesses, while still filling most weeks with easy runs. I know I need more track work, and hope to get more in before school starts up again in a few weeks.

But in general I don’t sweat training plans – I know that could limit me in some ways … but as I say, it really isn’t something I care all that much about.

5. I Just Freaking Love Running

This is the bottom line – everything else is secondary to just my pure love of running. Lisa was commenting before she left for work today, saying ‘head out for a nice long run, you could use it’ – she totally GETS me. And when she came home and we had dinner together, she knew I had a great one because I was totally chill. I loved getting out, pounding the pavement, running new places, battling exhaustion as I passed what would normally be ‘the wall’ in a marathon, and just having a great time.

Running and I have a long history – I started more than 25 years ago, while I have never had the passion or drive that I do now, and certainly never put in the hours and miles I do, it is something that has been with me – never out of obligation, always out of my own personal desire.

My Running Summary

After coming back from our crazy tour of Providence and Boston, we were all exhausted and all of us felt a bit under the weather during the week, with Chris getting sick for real for most of the week. I took Tuesday off because I was feeling run-down, and then felt pretty good the rest of the week. But for whatever reason, I was still full-on motivated to get out and kill my runs and felt better every day for doing them – but paid in exhaustion at the end of each day! How did I do? Let’s take a look:

Sunday: 18.79 miles
Monday: 9.75 miles
Tuesday: Rest Day (sickness prevention!)
Wednesday: 10.5 miles
Thursday: 10.1 miles
Friday: Anniversary – about 3.5 hours of rowing on a kayak!
Saturday 23.43 miles on a flat course

Um … yeah. So I clocked 72.57 miles this week. Highest volume in a while – and I guess based on this it makes sense that our kayaking against the wind felt like just another workout. Lisa gave me crap, talking about my planks and so on. And I guess it is true – I am benefiting from the non-running work I have been doing (thanks Megan for the challenge!)

How do YOU feel about races compared to just running? How was YOUR week?

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26 thoughts on “Thoughts About Running Lately, Guest Post and Weekly Summary

  1. Happy belated anniversary! I am just now catching up on blogs so I guess I missed it πŸ™‚ Sounds like you had a great week! I haven’t race in over a year. Sometimes I like to race and sometimes I don’t. For a while racing took the fun out of running for me so I just stopped. Great job on the high mileage week – my week was pretty good though with getting back into the routine of full time work it has been an adjustment and I can tell my body is tired, but I am getting there! πŸ™‚

    • I know you’ve had a lot to deal with getting out for early mornings … good job with all of your running lately, I have enjoyed following on your blog and instagram!

  2. Mike – you are inspirational to me, but in a different way than you think. πŸ™‚ You let me see what is important about running – the love of running, not having to compete, not worrying about a particular training plan, just running for the pure joy of running. Which is a good thing for me to focus on, so that my issues with pre-race anxiety do not extend to running in general.

    • Very good points, Harold, and not something I thought about – but it makes sense. No matter what happens with racing, you always have the joy of running, and right now also running with Bennie!

  3. So glad that you had such a great day!
    I honestly don’t race all that much. I would say that I have had a max of 4, maybe 5 races in a year, and that is mostly because I love just to run, but I like shiney things from time to time (what girl doesn’t). But really? I would rather not pay to do something that I would willingly do for free, I don’t like the pressure of having to perform on a particular day, or feeling like my value as a runner is assessed by a single run. I did that for years as a competitive rider. Now, I just want to enjoy myself. When I miss a race, I more miss the run (and the money). For me, every run that I get in my body, with all of its issues, is a gift, and one that I don’t want to squander.

  4. I obviously always rib you about racing, but it’s really just because I know you’d do so well and I want to celebrate your success! I actually think it’s amazing that you love the simple act of running SO much that you don’t even need to worry about racing, and that celebration of success can happen on any regular day when you just happen to bust out a killer run! Very inspirational, as always.

    And YAY on the non-running work! What happened to the old Michael who said he’d never do anything besides run? πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks Megan – I appreciate your ribbing πŸ™‚

      And haha – I totally love that I got hooked into your abs challenge. Sure there is more I could be doing, but for a few post-run minutes each day getting in some great core work is pretty easy. And to have it pay off like that … so cool!

  5. I love this post and couldn’t agree more. I haven’t really ran a race this year, except for doing a half marathon with a 13 year old. I was planning on doing a marathon this fall in the hopes of requalifying for Boston, but with my injury earlier this year I just don’t feel properly prepared and I let that idea go a few weeks ago and was okay with that. It has been awhile since I raced and to be honest I just enjoy my running. This past week we were away on vacation and I ended up running 63 miles! I did this partially because I was eating and drinking a lot and enjoying myself and this was my way of balancing it out and also because I was thoroughly enjoying exploring the area. It is not uncommon for me to leave home and come back 16-20 miles later just for fun. I have the most amazing time just heading out and being able to tackle miles like that. Many would think I am a bit sick, but it really is something I just truly enjoy. There will be other races, but sometimes it is nice for a Type A girl like me to not be worrying about a PR. Running doesn’t have to be just about races, even when you are a coach πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Sarah, that is a great perspective! I love how I’ve also discovered ‘exploring by running’ these past couple of years … it is great and makes every trip I take even more special! Thanks again!

  6. I usually do I think an average of about 16 races per year? That seems high, but last time I averaged out the last decade, I think that’s where I was. Obviously, many are short and not races I take seriously. My favorite things about races are feeling like I’m part of the local running community, supporting good causes, exploring new routes, running on closed courses, and most importantly, making new friends. I also love pushing myself and getting a good measure of where I am, but you’re right, I don’t need a bib for that. But I’m glad I like (and have a budget for) racing. It also helps me with motivation — I ran 20 in an awful storm this morning, and there’s no way I would have done that without a marathon in a month and a half!

    • I think it is important to figure out what works for us – like you said you wouldn’t have gone out without a looming race … I remember finding my last taper just too restrictive and broke out and did 7 miles the day before a race. Oh well πŸ™‚

  7. I do admit that I love races but have learned to step back, like right now- no races in August. They are only a part if the reason that I love running. I do hate training plans though, ugh. I am nowhere near your mileage but maybe one day! Fingers crossed.

    • It is all in what makes you happy – I have friends who run races from spring through fall nearly every weekend. And others who do one race a year. It is all in what works for us! πŸ™‚

  8. I feel since I’m still growing and learning as a runner, I need races to train for. Like someone said above, I don’t think I would go out and run in the rain or when it’s ungodly hot out if I wasn’t training for something. I don’t think I would push myself outside my comfort zone if I didn’t have a race to prepare for. Of course, that is all what I think I would not do. (Another case of “get out of your own way”.)

    Happy belated anniversary! πŸ™‚

    • haha – ‘get out of your own way’ … might be exactly right! I think as we head towards winter things will be more challenging, but as you are growing it might be easier. Who knows – my perspective is weird because of how long I ran before I did my first race (23 years!)

  9. Great running week! I think it’s wonderful how in tune you are with your values regarding running. I do love running races and setting PRs, but it’s nice that I also like the act of running itself, and while those other things do motivate me, sometimes I just run because I feel like it πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Rae – it can take a long time to figure out what YOU really want out of exercise and nutrition and everything else – there are so many voices out there!

  10. Awesome post and you really made me think a lot!

    This year, I set a goal for myself to do 14 races. At first I thought it would 14 half or full marathons, but by May-I knew how exhausting and ANNOYING it would be to do so because honestly i despise tapering the week/weeks before a race. I feel like tapering limits me-I’m like you-if I want to head out the door and run 20 miles today,I want to just DO IT, I hate holding back “the run.”. I DO want to hit a1:3x half this year and also BQ:this is part of my motivation to get up and go. But when you said ‘would I still run even if I didn’t PR?’ I couldn’t have agreed with you MORE. I would obviously still be doing the same thing, even If I didn’t hit a pr! Next year probably won’t be AS MANY races for me. It’s a lot…and like you said…you often lose HALF or MORE of the day due to traveling, etc. as much as I love racing-I DO really love my free time too!! So basically-I get why you don’t really care if you do a race this year! Running+you is the long term relationship that you’re having right now and that is freaking great!
    This is turning I to the longest comment, ever! Haha! Thanks for another great post, Michael!

    • Thanks Nicole – and I think that all of the stuff you mention is important to remember. I was thinking about your comment on my run this morning – I was absolutely killing it, and kept pushing a bit harder and harder through a good chunk before easing up … and I asked myself “does ‘just wanted to go out and run’ mean I don’t want to improve?” And the answer is absolutely NOT! I always want to keep improving, doing my best, and so on … how it happens might change, but the desire for progress is there.

  11. I feel like I used to really need the races to keep me motivated and moving, but after going through the injury stuff I’ve found that I care less about them. Nothing motivates me to run quite like being hurt! Haha that sounds weird, but really when I can’t run all I want to do IS run so these miles that I’ve been able to put in lately have all been wonderful for me. I’m just so happy being out there at all. πŸ™‚

    I love your mileage this week! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Lauren! I do think that because it was 23 years between when I started running and my first race I am less attached than most people to racing.

      Funny about the injury reminding you of what you really miss!

  12. I am with you that I would still run every day even if I never raced or PRd again, but it does give me a goal and a focus. I actually worry that without a plan I may go overboard…which is kind of backwards but plans keep me in check and make sure I don’t ramp up my mileage too much. Last week my runs were all amazing though- just running on the beach with no plan or goal or expectations. it was definitely a wonderful reminder of how much I love to run!

    • I definitely think each of us has a different ‘risk factor’ – too much, too little, too fast, too slow, whatever. I think for myself the key concept of being ‘half marathon ready’ has helped me all year long.

      Loved your beach runs – it is a great reminder of the pur joy of running!

  13. I’m training for Baystate, and you ran more miles than I did last week!
    I enjoy racing but i also enjoy running with my friends. Last Sunday’s long run turned into a bit of an adventure, but ultimatley was a great way to spend time with my friends.
    I’m not running as many races this year, and that’s okay. I just don’t feel it. I’m looking forward to Baystate and I’ll give it my all on race day, but I’m not going crazy with the training. Just trying to stay healthy and have some fun.
    Andy

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