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Legs Like Lead? Stop Pressuring Yourself and Just Enjoy the Run

Posted Feb 25 2009 3:53pm

All too often I think we get into this rut where we feel we have to either blaze some trails or run for three hours straight. This is particularly true if we are prepping for a race: we either want to improve our speed or go further, and in either case we get lost in the rush of maddening, dizzying prep. We go out to run and we feel bad if they are slower or shorter than we wanted. We focus only on the end goal - that big race - and not all of the time that goes into it.

This is particularly true if we are in the middle of training. The beginning is exciting! It’s new! I’m going to run a 5K/half marathon/full marathon! Woo hoo, let’s go train!

The end of the training is exciting. Race day is coming up! I have to prepare! I can do this!

Middle of the road? Tough. Even Dean K agrees in his new book 50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days. You aren’t close enough to run the race but the idea is no longer new and exciting.

This happens during our regular runs, too. We push too hard, or we take it all too seriously, and we forget:

Running is fun.

Have you forgotten? Going for a quick run can be exhilirating! You can:

  • Listen to birds
  • Snoop on the neighbors
  • Sing along to great music
  • Enjoy the sunshine
  • Get some fresh air

You don’t have to push yourself; you can just be one with the run! (Now, what a motto that is!)

If you are waking in the morning dreading that jog, if your legs are like lead and your mind filled with running dread, stop!

Take a rest day (it’s really okay to sleep in every once in a while! it is! ) Don’t push yourself all of the time or you’ll burn out. If you need a day off, take it! And your next run will be even better, promise!)

If you aren’t completely burned out, then do the next best thing to taking a day off: Take a day without the watch. Don’t pace yourself, don’t mile yourself to death, just go. Go as far as you want. Stop and smell some flowers, talk to the neighbor, stop to watch the ocean. I used to do this when running in Cali on my long days - stop and watch the sun come up. Not too many people get to experience this beautiful sight, and most runs you don’t ‘have the time’. You do today!

Run somewhere new. Get in the car, get out of your neighborhood, and go somewhere nice/different/interesting/new. Some of my favorite runs are those when we are traveling. I’ve run to the Alamo (tried to run inside, but the guard stopped me - only walking in the Alamo, please!). On some days when I am bored I drive over to the beach and run. I’ve run in the mountains, along city streets, and down country roads. If your are bored with your routine, change it up!

Run your same path only backwards. Now, you can literally run backwards - there is a guy in my neighborhood who does, and he has passed me (enough said!). But you can just change the route scenery and go the other way. Face it: You probably always run the same route the same way. If you go the other way around you’ll be looking at things in a new light, and it might just take that boredom away.

What do you do to make your runs more enjoyable when you are feeling burned out?

Today’s Run:

Why did I post this? Legs were lead this morning. Should have tried to do 4.5 at a 8:30 pace but, alas, it was not in the cards! INstead I did 3.5 miles at around a 9:30 and then did some sprints. Momma needed a break! I’m glad I didn’t pressure myself.

Now, off to the gym with baby in tow. Supposed to have a fun class for tots. I’ll report back!

Have a great run today!

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