June 16, 2011
Runners have a propensity for being obsessive. Maybe one needs an obsessive streak to be a runner, or maybe the payoffs of running create obsessiveness. I don't know which it is, but I've see many runners let the obsession take over and drive them to injury or burn out.
One thing I have been working on lately is running for the fun of it and not letting running run my life. Being on the verge of marathon training, I’m looking at my 18 week plan and realizing this will be a focal point of my life for the next 4 ½ months. Often, after a course of marathon training, people are burnt out and swear they will never do it again. Many eventually forget their negative feelings and start up the next year, but my goal is not to get to that place. I want to enjoy my training and finish my marathon thinking about the next one. I want to work my training around my life so that I don’t feel like I am giving up living to run. Part of the way I am doing this is by picking a less aggressive training plan than I had originally intended and rearranging the days so that my long run is on Friday, I can cross train by doing an extremely easy run/hike with a fun group on Saturdays, and take Sunday totally off to be ready to start again on Monday. I’m also learning not to be a slave to a schedule. I love to count things, nearly to the point of being obsessive so it thrills me to see my miles adding up, calculate my averages, and fill in the pages of my log. Unfortunately, I often get lost in the numbers and fail to listen to my body because I don’t want to fall behind on my mileage goals, but this is a recipe for disaster. I will track my training miles, but if I miss a run, oh well, I’m not going to let it make me a worried wreck about race day. I know I can finish a marathon, training is just about how fast and how I’ll feel the next day. Yes, I’d love to set a personal record, but more importantly I want to ENJOY the process and race. Running is good and promotes health. Obsessions, not so much!