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Renew Your Passion for Running: Be Spontaneous & Ask Why Not

Posted Feb 10 2013 9:14pm

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It’s been a tough few months in terms of my morning runs, spawning questions such as, “Should I sign up for another race,” and, “Why have I been so unmotivated?” Where were these doubts coming from, and how could I make them disappear?

I could have focused on the obvious answers if I wanted. I’m tired. I’m stressed. I’m cranky. It’s dark in the morning. It’s freaking cold. To be honest though, most of these propositions felt more like excuses than anything else.

I’m not the first runner to hit a lull, and I certainly won’t be the last. I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’ve been here too, whether running or spinning or yoga-ing or anything else.

Below, I’ve come up with a quick little reminder that has been slowly helping to pull me out from under the rubble. My hope is that I can return to this post as inspiration should I find myself facing self-doubt in the future.

Embrace spontaneity.

I fell in love with running in the first place because of the sense of freedom it endowed me with. Lately though, I’ve felt trapped by my morning routine, unable to figure out how to find satisfaction out of something that’s been effortless for so long.

In the last week, spontaneity has enabled me to push through. I wasn’t planning on running on Friday morning — just as the snow was beginning to fall. But as the first few flakes floated past my bedroom window, there was something drawing me outside. I had to find out what.

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Friday morning’s run turned out to be exactly what I needed. New York City was quiet and calm, and despite what turned into pelting rain and sleet, I returned home with my spirits lifted more than they had been in quite a while.

After Friday’s run, I planned on taking it easy for the rest of the weekend.

Famous last words.

On Saturday morning, I woke up to a very welcome invitation in the form of a text:

1. Do you think it’s crazy to go running and 2. Any interest in a snow run?

My initial reaction, as I lay in bed staring out at the snowy streets below, was absolutely not.

Approximately .7658 seconds later, I jumped out of bed and began getting dressed. Why? The better question, in my opinion, is why not?

Saturday’s run took @bethk1126 and I to Central Park, where we wandered the pathways without rhyme or reason.

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Getting out the door hasn’t been my only problem during this especially cold winter season; distance hasn’t exactly been my friend either. But with a running buddy by my side, Saturday’s run flew. The distance ticked by more quickly than it has in months, and each moment outdoors felt natural and — dare I say — fun.

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The paths on Saturday appeared far more treacherous than they were. Really they were totally fine for running — and it’s not just because I spent multiple years in Michigan battling icy, snow-ridden roads. If you are craving a snowy winter run, just be careful and use your brain. If it looks slippery, just slow down. Walking isn’t a crime.

There was a moment on Saturday’s run when, after far too long, I felt at peace with a lot of the emotion I’ve been harboring around running lately. Maybe I don’t have to have the answers, I thought. 

I carried this mentality into Sunday when, after sleeping in, I woke up slowly, downed a couple Advil (Saturday night’s kale margaritas were oh-so-cruel to my head) and convinced myself to get out — even for just two or three measly miles. Better than nothing, right?

With my ear warmers nowhere to be found, and my headband still soaked from Friday’s blizzard run, I was forced to resort to something I’d never done before: a braid, so that I could fit a hat over my head.

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Confession: This was an awesome, cozy way to run. Why have I never done this before? The braid stayed completely put, and the hat offered full coverage for extra warmth.

Anyway, on Sunday, I literally just wandered around my neighborhood.

First stop, Lord and Taylor to return one of the 398203952039 purchases I made on Saturday afternoon (roughly). What can I say, I love a good sale! Especially a sale on glitter.

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Next stop, Madison Square Park.

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Last stop: to meet Noah on his walk home from lunch. He called while I was about a half-mile away, so I figured, what the hey. Why not?

Maybe this is something we need to ask ourselves more often.

For many of us, running evolves over time.

One day, it’s how we motivate ourselves to reach new goals, or lose weight, or build strength. One year, we run half marathon after half marathon after half marathon (after half marathon), and another year, we reassess, we scale back, and we lay low. One hour we feel perfectly healthy, and the next, piriformis syndrome kicks you in the rear (re: I may or may not be talking about myself).

That’s ok. It’s all ok.

Just do me one favor: Don’t plan any of it. Let the cards fall as they may, and embrace each moment with a sense of spontaneity and a will to roll with the punches.

  • How do you describe your running routine? Spontaneous? Rigid? 
  • How were your weekend runs? Snowy? Sunny? 

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