You may have noticed that I haven’t actually talked much lately about my running. Other people’s running? Yes. Running around the world? Yes. Movies about running? Yes. Hiking? Yes. But actually, I haven’t talked about my running REALLY for about six weeks.
That’s because I’m in a bit of a quandary about running.
I trained hard for Healdsburg and missed my goal fairly significantly, blowing up at M8. And whilst I hope I have a pretty healthy perspective on how unimportant running is in the grand scheme of things, I’ve really struggled to be motivated to run ever since. I signed up for Mt Tam in a blaze of excitement, but then got sick and found the race very difficult. And since Mt Tam? The only word that describes my running lately is ‘meh’.
I just can’t decide how I feel about running.
I barely ran for few weeks after Mt Tam. I felt rough due to my stinking cold, life got busy, I hardly did any running at all. So now I’m very much starting from the beginning again, and that’s hard work.
Officially, I’m training for the Kaiser 5k on Feb 5th. This is a goal that does excite me and something I genuinely want to race hard. My PR is 24.52 but this course is significantly downhill so I feel that, if I race hard, I’ll probably set my final 5k PR. I’ll be 42 the day after the race, I can’t imagine a much better opportunity to fly hard. So that’s quite the motivation. But even then, that inner drive hasn’t quite kicked in.
I’ve recently signed up with RunCoach, a semi-personalized online coaching system. Everyone’s favourite Boston Qualifier has used them for years and speaks very highly of them, so I thought I’d give it a shot for six months. I don’t think I’ll be qualifying for Boston any time soon but paying for a training plan and having it emailed out to me has definitely shifted something in my attitude to running. I wouldn’t say my mojo is back but I definitely am getting some pleasure from completing the workouts and filling in the online reports.
As I get older, the likelihood of PRs get less and less. Not impossible (Shanna’s been crushing her races and PR-ing like a boss lately) but realistically less. Which means that I need to find new motivation to keep running. Apart from the rare, spectacular, thrilling moments when I PR, why else will I keep running?
In my mind, I keep coming back to a quote by Sara Ronne, who I interviewed a few years ago about running in Sweden. It struck me enormously when I first read it and I keep coming back to it regularly. She said ‘ I’ve come to the conclusion that running a 10k race 30 second faster, or so, won’t make me happier. But running in beautiful places will. That’s quite an insight which has completely changed the way I run, and made it more fun and more meaningful.’ I still think there’s joy and satisfaction to be found in working towards and gaining PRs but I know that Sara is right and that’s where the future of my running will be.
I had the delight of finally meeting Lisa from Yo Momma Runs last week after reading her blog for years and years. (She was so awesome). She’s about my age and has switched almost entirely to trail racing, with great success. She pointed out the joys of the trails – how it’s not about the clock, it’s about running in beautiful places, racing hard, playing with tactics. I definitely think that, sooner or later, my racing and running is going to be all about the trails.
I’m excited about Kaiser and I’m very VERY probably going to go for a PR at Hellyer in March. If I crash and burn in those races then I suspect I shall give up on PR-ing and switch to the trails.But I still think I have a few PRs in me yet and I hope RunCoach can get me there.
They’ve got me out running in the dark again, so that’s a good start!