CASUAL OR SERIOUS // 5 MILE FRIDAY
I spent the better part of this week debating whether my approach to running was serious or casual.
Mainly, because as of yesterday I had not ran 5 miles since last Monday (April 8th). Something, that was almost unheard of this time last year…even when I was stuck running indoors on the treadmill in the dungeon at my college residence hall. Over the past several days, I spent a lot of time loosing sleep over this debate. Even mid-run, my mind would wander onto the topic and I’d get way more wrapped up in it than whatever song happened to be blaring through my earbuds. I came up with my usual list of reasons why I am serious about running:
Getting up at 4 a.m.
Keeping a running log
Running with a GPS watch (Garmin Forerunner)
Analyzing my paces and mile splits
Icing my legs regularly
Carrying pepper spray at all times
I’m sure I left one or two things out, but you get the idea. When I went to make a mental list of the reasons why I was taking running casually it came down to three basic things: speed, distance, and number of weekly runs. That’s it. You can’t be that serious about running if you’re not running super fast, super long all of the time. Period. End of discussion.
Except, there is so much more to running than those things.
I know from first hand experience that more isn’t always better when it comes to running. I once ran something like 49 or 50 miles (it was December of 2017, so I can’t remember exactly) over the course of a week and was miserable for weeks and weeks afterwards. Sure, in the moment I felt great. Just knowing that I had ran that huge amount of mileage in such a short period of time made me feel extremely proud of myself. But, the pain I was in later on made me feel like a complete idiot. Still, I do want to up the number of days I run per week from 5 to 6…with some realistic weekly mileage goals.
When I’m feeling 100% and weather conditions are perfect, I absolutely loath the idea of running anything less than 5 miles. It just feels like a waste of time in my opinion. So, having such a struggle to just get in 3 or 4 miles for most of this week has been really hard to stomach mentally. It made me feel so weak and out of shape. Running fast is also something that I’ve always struggled with, regardless of my weight or where I’m running at. “Fast” is never quite fast enough and “slow” is always viewed as some type of failure or lack of effort on my part.
All that being said, there was a lot riding on today’s run. A LOT.
I desperately wanted to get in a decently paced, non-eventful 5 or 6 mile run. I also had came to terms with the fact that no matter how much I wanted to run a certain distance, some days my body just wasn’t going to be able to do it. And, that is just something that I have to accept. However, any run that starts out with “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande just HAS to be a good one. Starting my morning off with such an upbeat and empowering song really set the tone for how the rest of my run went. It also had me running a 9:07 mile 1, which is way too fast of a start for a long run. But, whoever heard of running too fast anyhow?!?
I also had two miles in the 9:20s…so I think this whole being able to run fast and long at the same time thing might finally be working out. Oh, and the absolute best part of my run was finishing up the last quarter of a mile or so with the song “Platinum” by Miranda Lambert. Like, how could anyone run slow when you have that song pushing you and giving you all the motivation you need to finish strong. Finishing this 5 mile run in a time of 47:24 with no 10 minute miles and or falls was such a relief. Like, finally after all of these average or super eventful runs there’s one run where everything comes together and goes according to plan.
SO, WHICH IS IT…CASUAL OR SERIOUS?
Well, like most things in life…it’s a little bit of both. There are going to be days where casual (shorter, slower, etc.) runs make more sense; and days where more serious/goal-oriented runs are more feasible. It really just depends on the weather conditions and how I’m feeling that morning. Regardless, one phrase that I kept repeating to myself this morning that really helped was this, “Run your pace, Run as fast as you can today.” Not someone else’s pace or as fast as you ran yesterday, last week, or last year. Your pace, whatever you feel you are capable of running TODAY.